Baseballs are one of the most iconic and essential pieces of equipment in the game of baseball. Baseballs are used as the fundamental tool for playing the game and are regularly used by every player on the field. Without baseballs, there would be no game.
What are baseballs used for?
Baseballs are a small ball that is used for most aspects of baseball. Baseballs can be thrown, hit, or pitched in order to complete different actions within the game. These balls are about 9 inches in circumference and weigh around 5 ounces, which makes them similar to a lacrosse ball. The core of the baseball will consist of some type of cork or rubber, depending on the type of ball. The core is then surrounded by yarn windings to fill the rest of the space. The cover of the baseball is made out of either genuine or synthetic leather and is held together with stitching. Most baseballs will have a white cover with red stitching. The unique design of a baseball allows for it to be easily controlled with various spin patterns while pitching. Especially in professional leagues, baseballs are constantly evolving over time.
Things To Consider
When looking for baseballs, you'll want to consider the following:
- What type of baseball do you need?
- Will you be using the baseballs for practice or competition?
- What skill level of baseball do you play?
- How many baseballs do you need?
- How much money do you want to spend on baseballs?
What are you looking for in a baseball?
- Usable in game
- Suitable for practice
- For youth use
- For adult use
- For use in a pitching machine
- Fits league standards
- Use as a training aid
The different types of baseballs include professional-grade, high school and college, youth, weighted, pitching machine, and reduced injury factor baseballs.
Professional-grade baseballs are the ones used in professional baseball leagues such as the MLB. These balls are seen as the highest quality baseball and are designed to be used with wooden bats. They have a high-grade leather cover with traditional seams.
High School and College Baseballs
High school and college baseballs are very similar in design to professional baseballs. However, these balls are slightly lighter than professional balls and are typically made with a cork core. They will often have either genuine leather or high-quality synthetic leather for the cover. These balls are made to be used with metal or composite bats as opposed to wooden ones.
Youth baseballs are designed specifically for baseball players between the ages of 8-14 years old, and they are also used in Little League tournaments. These balls are similar to high school or college baseballs, except that the yarn winding is not as tight. This makes the balls slightly softer than professional and college-level baseballs despite being made with similar materials.
Weighted baseballs are similar in design to most baseballs but are heavier than a standard baseball. These baseballs are made to help improve arm strength during practice or warming up. Most types of weighted balls will come in different colors so that they are not mistaken for regular baseballs.
Pitching Machine Baseballs
Pitching machine baseballs are made to be used specifically in pitching machines. These balls carry a very different appearance from the standard baseballs, with a yellow coloration and dimples as opposed to laces. Pitching machine baseballs are typically less expensive than standard baseballs and are designed with the intention of preventing damage to metal bats during batting practice. Despite being made of synthetic material, they are crafted with the intention of mimicking the feeling of a leather ball hitting off a bat.
Reduced Injury Factor Baseballs
Reduced injury factor baseballs are made for very young players or for practice. These balls are noticeably softer than most baseballs and are meant to prevent injuries. Reduced injury factor balls perform better than traditional safety balls but are rarely used in youth-level play.
The most popular brands that produce baseballs are Diamond, Rawlings, and Wilson.
Diamond makes select equipment and gear for both baseball and softball. They make all types of baseballs and even make official baseballs for certain leagues such as Little League. Each type of baseball will come in a few different variations and is made with different materials.
Rawlings makes high-quality equipment and apparel for baseball. They make a few different items that are officially licensed by the MLB, including baseballs. Rawlings also makes every type of baseball while also having a few options in different colors.
Wilson makes sportswear and equipment for a wide variety of different sports. They mainly make youth baseballs as well as high school and college balls. Each type of baseball will come in a few different levels of softness, and they even sell a large number of youth balls in a bucket.
What are the dimensions and weight of a baseball?
Regulation baseballs are spherical and will range in circumference from 9” to 9.25”. Regulation baseballs will weigh from 5-5.25 ounces. Many practice balls or safety balls will weigh less as they are made with lighter materials.
What kind of baseball is used by the MLB?
The MLB uses Rawlings official MLB designed baseballs. These balls are crafted with the highest quality materials and have been used by the MLB for over 40 years.
Why do baseballs have laces?
The laces or stitching on the baseball is the material used to hold the cover of the ball together. However, while this is its main function, the stitching allows pitchers to gain a better grip on the ball, creating better control and more spin on pitches. The spin of the baseball combined with the stitching allows the baseball to travel further as well.